When an industry is disrupted, one of the first things "traditionalists" attack is the disruptor's credibility and effectiveness. Influencer marketing has seen its fair share of skeptics in the past, but in recent years everybody stopped denying it and started scrambling to figure out how to take advantage of it. Why? Because it's one the most effective new forms of marketing out there:

This last point is truly the crux of the issue.

friend-influencers

Tip from a Friend

Online influencers exist in a space where their followers glean a sense of genuine connection. While audiences have always liked media personalities, both real and fictional, the difference with influencers is the frequent prospect of personal interaction. This interaction is amplified by the sense of intimacy that people experience with their friends. Checking up on your favorite internet personalities feels like catching up with buddies.

This is the root of influencer marketing’s effectiveness. Whereas a transparent ad can come across as a cynical machination, an endorsement from an influencer feels like a recommendation from a trusted friend. It’s natural and familiar. When we’re inexperienced with an area, activity, industry, or product, we value the insight of our more knowledgeable pals. And that’s the sense that well-executed influencer marketing achieves.

The Rise of the Micro-Influencer

This intimate sense of friendliness is supported by the rise of a specific type of influencer: the micro-influencer.

Marketers are increasingly turning to accounts with 30,000 or fewer followers to help with their marketing campaigns. These micro-influencer marketing campaigns provide 60% higher engagement and 22 times more buzz at 6.7 times the cost efficiency, though they're also more complicated to coordinate than a straight-forward endorsement from a celebrity.

Ultimately, it's worth it. People interact with influencer endorsement the same way they engage with friends, and smaller niche groups provide a personal connection with the influencer. It effectively reproduces the concept of word-of-mouth marketing — often touted as the most powerful form of marketing — but on a larger scale and having to convince only one person to promote your brand rather than a small army of consumers.

Influencer marketing is really just one of the multiple adaptations to a new generation of consumers. The means to reach new audiences have changed with the times, and influencer marketing is one of the best ways to establish that connection. Ignoring this new trend only provides your competition with an advantage over your marketing efforts in the long run, so it's vital to not be left behind and incorporate influencer marketing into your strategy.